tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN June 16, 2016 12:00am-2:01am EDT
of america. laws in many parts of the country still fail to explicitly prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals the failure to actively oppose and prohibit discrimination leaves our lgbt individuals vulnerable based on who they are or whom they love. vulnerable to being evicted from their homes, vulnerable to be denied credit or other financial services, vulnerable to being refused basic services in public places such as restaurants or shops or terminated from employment or otherwise discriminated against in employment. to allow discrimination to persist is incompatible with the founding principles of our
country. failure to ensure that all people of the united states are treated equally allows a cull -- a culture of hate against some people in the united states to fester. this hate culture includes continuing physical assaults and murders committed against lgbt individuals, and particularly against transgender individuals. the events that transpired on june 12, it 2016, in orlando, florida, were a horrifying and tragic act of hate and terror that took the lives of 49 innocent individuals and injured 53 more. the victims were targeted because of who they were, who they loved or who they associated with.
it is a sense of congress that it is time to end discrimination against lgbt individuals and stand against the culture of hatred and prejudice that such discrimination allows. it is incumbent on policy-makers to ensure that lgbt individuals benefit from the full protection of the civil rights of the nation. and congress commits to take every action necessary to make certain that all people of the united states are treated and protected equally under the law. that's the philosophy embedded in our constitution. equal treatment and equal opportunity. it is the spirit of antidiscrimination that is our higher self that we should treat each individual with respect,
each individual with dignity. it is the principle of opportunity for all that cannot take place when discrimination interferes. it is the spirit that we have carried along a long journey, a journey in which we've reached out to embrace individuals who were excluded. our original practices in this nation operated under the vision of full opportunity for all. but it was a flawed vision. it was a vision that didn't include native americans. it's a vision that at that time didn't include individuals who were minorities. it was a vision that at that time didn't include women.
but over time we have reached out and started to make that incredible picture portrayed in our founding documents and in the hearts of our founders a reality. we've done so in step by step. twats martin -- it was martin luther king who said the moral arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice but that bending takes place because older mortals say they're determined to make it happen. they ply themselves that effort whether in their everyday life, in the individuals they encounter, work with and live with, worship with, recreate with. or in the lives of legislators who work within their institutions to say we're changing hearts but let's change
our laws as well. we have the 1964 civil rights act. it's the foundation, a milestone, an anchor, a foundation of laws against discrimination. but when you read the 1964 act, you don't see any protections for our lgbt community. now many of us have put forward a law called the equality act that would remedy that, that would use the foundation of the 1964 civil rights act to extend full equality to lgbt community. it is unbelievable that today in america you can get married to someone you love in the morning and announce it in the afternoon and be fired from your job,
legally fired from your job or evicted from your apartment before nightfall because your marriage demonstrates that you are gay or lesbian or transgender or bisexual. some states have remedied that, but we haven't done it as a nation. and when you have a legal structure that embraces discrimination, that fosters a culture of discrimination among some. let's end that. let's end that structure of law. let's pass the equality act. i'm sure it will be some time before the equality act gets a hearing in committee. that shouldn't be the case on something so profound, so important, it should have had a hearing right after it was introduced. and we'll keep pushing for that hearing, and we hope it can get
to the floor. but in the meantime let's stand behind a sense of the senate that it is way past time for us to address this issue of discrimination that fosters this culture of hatred. and we saw that culture in full demonstration the night of october 6, 1998, when matthew shepard was tied to a fence, brutally assaulted, tortured and left to die. and we saw that culture of hatred in orlando, florida, with the death of so many beautiful young people on that tragic, tragic night.
so we have before us two challenges. let's address simple measures that can make a difference, that terror shouldn't have access to guns, that we should have a background check system that actually works so gun shows and classified ads are treated the same as a purchase at a gun shop. let's decrease the size of the magazines. when kip kinkle took 1,127 rounds of ammunition and three guns to his school to kill as many of his schoolmates as he could, he was stopped because he ran out of ammunition and had to reload, and that two seconds
gave an opportunity for a fellow student, jacob riker, to tackle him. probably saved dozens of lives that day. so we have the challenge before us of these simple improvements in our background system, in our terrorist list, and in our gun magazines. but we also need to end the discrimination that's embedded in the law that treats millions of americans as second-class citizens and can foster among some unfortunately contribute to a culture of hatred against those individuals. so let's do both. and tonight i'm so honored to be here with my colleagues sharing
in this joint effort, this joint effort to say enough is enough. let us not hide from this issue. let's have a vote on these issues. let's be accountable to our constituents on these issues. that does not happen if my colleague from connecticut cannot get a vote on the proposal he's putting forward. i wish that this room right now had every desk filled. the beautiful speeches my colleagues have been giving, the reflections, the insights, the wisdom, the earnestness, the grief. but the room is not full. we need our colleagues in the majority to join us in this conversation, to join us in this conversation that affects the lives of so many people in
america. what happened in orlando, florida, shattered not just killed 49 individuals, but it shattered their families. it shattered the community. it shattered and reverberated throughout this nation. and this perhaps to not that same degree, but this type of violence goes on and on and on and on. i believe that my colleague from connecticut said now a major event of this nature, of multiple deaths every month. and if you look at the events of person-on-person violence, you look at what happens in our
cities across this country, our rural areas across this country, every day there are acts of violence. every day there are acts of hate crimes against our lgbt community. so let's do both of these. and we ask, we hope that citizens across the country will weigh in with the legislators, those senators who may not be here tonight and may not have been here this afternoon and may not have been here when this conversation started over 12 hours ago, that they might hear at least the reverberations that the thoughts issued here reverberate back through the country and come back this those phone calls and those letters to our colleagues' offices, that they might be aware and they might read the stories of so many citizens who could say of an incident that might have been averted if we had a better system of laws on background
checks and if we got rid of the discrimination embedded in our laws of this country. so i ask my colleague from connecticut is it your hope, is it your aspiration that this body will indeed embrace having a full dialogue not just among one side of the aisle but on both sides of the aisle, and that that will lead to votes on these very significant proposals so that we can act to make america a better place s. mr. murphy: i thank the senator from oregon for his passion on both of these challenges on both of the topics which is to move forward on these proposals, to close the terrorist loophole, to expand the number of seams that are subject to background checks, to make sure that everybody that pwaoeuz a gun through a -- buys a gun through a commercial sun has to prove they're not a
criminal but linking on this double inclusiveness of what has to happen in the wake of orlando. an incident like this can have the tendency to pull a community apart. yet what we know is the way to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again is for us to recommit ourselves to inclusiveness and to tolerance and to fighting discrimination. i can't say anything more than the senator said with respect to that commitment as it applies to lgbt americans. i do hope that we are able to move the equality act through this body. i think we are in a long and frustratingly slow transition to a place that we all know we're going to get to, which is the full rights afforded to individuals no matter their sexual orientation. but i would also note that coming off of this tragedy there is going to be a tendency among some to marginalize another community and that is the muslim community. as we talk about our efforts to build an inclusive society, we have to remember the way in
which we make our nation safe is by building these inclusive communities where muslim americans feel a part of the whole. not feel excluded. because it builds and plays straight into the recruiting rhetoric of these terrorist groups. if we are divided, if we push people out to the extremes so i think this is a very important message for all of us to hear that fighting terrorism, whether it be hate-base crimes or political-base crimes inspired by terrorist groups, we combat it best, yes, when tailoring our gun laws to make sure that those that are thinking about these crimes, these horrific murders don't get guns but also making sure that we build these inclusive communities which act as a pretty strong prophylactic to terror. i would yield the floor to the senator from pennsylvania for a question without losing my right to the floor. mr. casey: i want to thank the senator from connecticut.
the question i will pose will center on not just why we're here, what the -- what the two measures are that we're hoping to get a vote on but why we seek to have support for those -- first of all, to have support to get a vote in and of itself and then to get support from our colleagues. but -- and i wanted to take us back to two scenes, one that i referred to earlier today but one that i had just remembered tonight that is a painful memory for a the low of people in pennsylvania. i did want to say first as well i had mentioned earlier a pennsylvanian who had lost her life in orlando in the terrible incident of this weekend. what i did not mention was a second pennsylvanian i should have. the second person from pennsylvania who was killed in
that murderous rampage was a graduate of mccaskey high school. ortiz jimenez, 25, known to his friends as drake was a native of santo domingo, the dominican republic according to his facebook page and also says he studied law in puerto rico. it goes on from there talking about his life. i did want to pay tribute to him as well, one of the 49 killed in addition to akyra murray, only 18 years old and lost her life as well. the two scenes i wanted to bring us back to, one of course was charleston, south carolina. we're remembering that day of horror as well. we had an incident this weekend
in a nightclub in charleston. it was in a place of worship. in sandy hook it was a school classroom. all these settings were people should have i think a reasonable expectation of some measure of safety but even that now is at risk because of the horror of gun violence. i mentioned earlier today as well, let's remember the national number. by one estimate 33,000 lives lost every year through gun violence. that's why when you add up all the well known incidents, it doesn't add up to anywhere near 33,000 because as the senator from new jersey, senator booker reminded us, there are a the low of other places in between where the numbers go into the not just the thousands but literally the tens of thousands because of what happens on our streets day after day. here's the reason i raise
charleston. we know that that took place at the emmanuel ame church often called mother emmanuel in charleston. nine people shot in their place of worship by a young man with hate in his heart. that was a hate crime murder, certainly an act of domestic terrorism, had no connection to anything international, nothing about isis or international connections. in the second incident i'll mention has the same characteristic. hate and murder domestically, nothing having to do with some intir ration from a -- inspiration from a terrorist organization. but here's the remarkable feature of what happened after charleston, what some of the family members did. so courageous were they just like so many of these other families who have lived through this. after the massacre, the
relatives of those killed attended a bond hearing where the accused shooter appeared. they didn't attack him. they didn't yell at him. they didn't scream at him. they didn't convey their justifiable anger, even outrage and even a what we all would consider a justifiable feeling of vengeance, of score settling, however you want to call it. they didn't do that. instead what do they do? they forgave him. nadine collier, the daughter of ethel who had been killed in the church that day, this is what nadine said to the killer and i'm quoting her. "you took something very precious from me. i will never talk to her again. i will never ever hold her again, but i forgive you and have mercy on your soul. " so said nadine collier, a
remarkable testament to forgiveness, to mercy which is almost superhuman. i'm not sure i could have done that. i'm not sure many people could. and she wasn't the only one. other relatives took their turn, took their turn one after another expressing pain but always showing grace and praying for mercy. so none of us, there are very few of us, and i count myself among those who could not do that in that circumstance. so that was charleston, south carolina. let me take you back in time. i was so moved that senator baldwin mentioned when she was doing that chronology, she started with 2006, ten years ago. the first incident she mentioned
was in -- was also -- i mentioned before. lancaster county, pennsylvania, nickel mines, small community in lancaster, the amish community, this great community of faith, of intrustous -- industriousness, a community bonded together by their work ethic, by their faith and by their families. even that tranquil community, that community which is -- which has enjoyed for generations a kind of tranquility that many other communities would not, even that community was subjected to violence. ten years ago this coming october, a man entered a one-room amish schoolhouse in nickel mines, pennsylvania, with a carb of weapon -- cache of weapons, two knives, two cans of
gunpowder and 600 rounds of ammunition into the small community of the amish community. he executed five girls and wounded six others before taking his own life. it's hard to comprehend the horror of that scene just like so many others we talked about. yet on the very same day as the shooter committed this heinous act, a grieving grandfather told young relatives -- quote -- "we must not think -- we must not think evil of this man." "we must not think evil of this man." i mentioned both of those scenes, scenes of the kind of bloodshed and tragedy and horror that we can't even imagine. i certainly can't.
but in both instances you had very close relatives in the immediate aftermath of that killing or killings expressing mercy and forgiveness. nadine collier saying, i forgive you and i have mercy on your soul. and the grandfather, the amish grandfather saying, we must not think evil of this man. now, we're not asking anyone in this chamber to do anything like that. we're not asking anyone heretofore give someone that just murdered one of their family members. we're not asking someone in this chamber to do something which is in a sense superhuman. we're just asking people to support two votes. in this place when you're a united states senator, you're juneed on a number of scales -- judged on a number of scales but you're mostly judged on how you vote. that's what we're supposed to be
doing here, how you vote. and that becomes the scorecard of your work, that becomes one of the measures against which people will make a judgment about you. so we're not asking people to do something that's all that difficult. i know there might be some political difficulty to it but come orks this isn't like having to forgive someone that just murdered your loved one and you're standing in front of them. this isn't as difficult as what the families of all these places we've mentioned, from nickel mines, pennsylvania, all the way through sandy hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut, all the way through to orlando, florida. we're not asking people to do anything very difficult. all you've got to do is put your hand up and then put it down twice if you're going to vote for it. and if you want to vote against it, so be it. but at least put your hand up to
allow a vote on two simple measures that will begin, just begin the long journey to rectify a substantial national problem that takes 33,000 people every year. all we're asking for is a start, a foot in the door, maybe even a toe in the door, but just a start to do something about this problem we have to reduce this number. no one can convince me that the greatest country in the history of the human race cannot begin to tackle this problem. this idea this is nothing we can do, all we need to do is enforce the law just doesn't make sense anymore. it really, really doesn't if you look at the facts. so in essence there's nothing we can do some say in washington other than enforce the law and just hope that good law
enforcement every day of the week is going to save 33,000 lives. that is not logical. it is not tenable based upon the facts, and to me it's unacceptable. so i would ask the senator from connecticut a very simple question, what are we asking people to do, members of the unitedn the next couple of days and ask him as well, are we asking members of the united states senate to do something which is -- puts them at any risk beyond political risk? if you could just reiterate for us what's at stake here, why we need to take at least these two actions and how we can best begin to solve this problem. mr. murphy: i thank the gentleman from pennsylvania for his comments and the question
and of course the answer is that there's absolutely no risk involved in the votes that we are hopeful to bring before the senate. why? because these are propositions that are supported by the vast majority of the american public. there is no controversy over these issues. the risk is doing nothing. the risk is continuing to allow for this very large loophole for would-be terrorists to walk through. i won't read it again, but i've read several times on the floor today this quote from a now deceased al qaeda operative in which he very clearly advertises to recruits here in the united states that -- i'll read this part. he says you can go down it a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle without a background check. what are you waiting for? this is al qaeda's -- one of al qaeda's top operatives directing individuals here in the united
states to take advantage of this loophole. and we have seen this trend line away from other means of terrorist attacks to the assault weapon, to the firearm. and so we should pay attention to this trend and do something about it. the real risk is doing nothing, senator casey. there's no risk in voting for this. you will be celebrated by the american people, and i hope after tonight, there will be even more that will join our call. the real risk is in standing pat and allowing for isis to recruit straight in to the loophole that we have created, think about what we are doing. we are selling guns to the enemy knowingly if we allow our set of laws today to persist. that's why we have to move forward and enact these commo commonsense measures. with that let me yield the floor for a question to senator king who's been great to be with us
for the majority of this late evening without losing my rights to the floor. mr. king: well, i'd like to discuss with the senator and bring back to the point that we were discussing some four hours ago. it seems hard to believe it was four hours ago but that this is really a national security discussion. this is really a national security discussion because of the changed nature of our adversaries and the changed strategy that they have for attacking us, but first i want to go back to the constitution, and purely by coincidence i'm wearing today the constitution. my daughter bought me this tie at the library of congress, and it is a handwritten version of the constitution. you can see "we, the people" in very large letters. why are governments formed? why are constitutions written? going back to the earliest human societies, the fundamental function of bestowing power on a government is to protect you.
security is the fundamental, most sacred obligation of any government, and our framers recognize that because in the preamble to the constitution, the heart of the document, why we're doing this, the framers were explaining to posterity and two of the fundamental purposes among several others are to ensure domestic tranquility and provide for the common defense. the basic function of any government and the explicit function of our government. now, here are three important dates. 1812, 2001 and 2016. 1812 because that was the last time an adversary violated our shores. that was when washington was burned by the british. it was the last invasion of
america until 2001. but 2001 and 1812 have some similarities because 2001 was in effect a foreign invasion. it was applauded abroad, it was planned abroad, it was -- and people came here from outside of our shores and attacked our country. now, in response to that attack in 2001, we mobilized a number of resources. we developed ways of protecting our aircraft. we developed great intelligence ability to determine when people were plotting against us, and indeed we sent our blood and treasure and young people to afghanistan because it was a haven for terrorists. that was the reason we went there, and in fact are still there to keep that country from becoming an incubator for
terrorists to attack this country. we have been effective. we have been effective in preventing an attack on our country from abroad, so, as is always the case with warfare, our adversaries have developed a new strategy, and that's why the third date i mentioned is 2016. it was in the last few years, particularly in the last year as isis has begun to be beaten back and to lose its territory in syria and iraq, that they have developed a new strategy which doesn't involve sending people here, it doesn't involve sending arms here or bombs or anything else. it involves using the internet to radicalize people who are already here. often they are u.s. citizens, and then to turn them against us. that's the new nature.
this is terrorism 2.0. that's the nature of the struggle that we're in now, and that's why the amendment that is being proposed makes so much sense from a point of view of national security. if we discover an arms cache in syria, we bomb it, but if isis wants to attack us here with terrorism 2.0, we sell them weapons. it makes no sense. the first rule of warfare is disarm your enemies if you can, and what we are -- that's exactly what we're talking about, and i think a lot of people don't -- they just say well, this is another gun control debate. this is another -- you know, we're talking about gun control. we're talking about national security. we're talking about defending ourselves from a strategy that relies upon people being able to acquire guns easily in this
country, people who are terrorists or who are inspired by the terrorists or who want to be terrorists. and we can't have a bill that says you have to have probable cause to show you already committed a terrorist act. that's too late. it has to be preventative, and that's what we're talking about here today. so i think it's very important to remind ourselves that this is really a national security bill and it makes no sense to close the terrorist loophole unless you close the gun show loophole, because the terrorists aren't stupid. the terrorist a.p.b. that they send out from somewhere else in the world to tell somebody go get a gun and kill people will also say, by the way, do it at a gun show or do it online because they won't check you. you have already -- you have already read the quote from the al qaeda operative that
explicitly told people to do that. so if we don't do both things, it really is a false security. we're kidding ourselves. so we have to do one, close the terrorist loophole. i would venture to say 90% of the american people agree with that. when you walk up to people on the street and say do you think people should be able to be prevented from getting on airplanes but they should be able to buy guns, they look at you like you're crazy. that doesn't make any sense. and yes, there are constitutional provisions built into the amendment that we're talking about that allow people who are wrongfully on that list to have an opportunity to get off the list and to contest that designation. so this isn't some kind of wholesale violation of the second amendment. this respects the second amendment and is based upon the premise that due process is available in this situation. but then we have to close the
gun show loophole and the online loophole because otherwise doing the first thing just isn't going to be effective. so the two things together to me are national security and personal security because of all the other tragedies that we've talked about here tonight that don't involve al qaeda or isis or al-nusra or al-shabaab or any of the other terrorist organizations but involve our individual citizens being killed in just stunning numbers. since we have started talking here today, since you took this floor, a dozen people have been murdered by guns. one an hour. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. so we've got a national security reason to do this and we have also -- remember the preamble back, and i will finish with my question. the preamble has two pieces. provide for the common defense, that's what i have been talking about with national security.
ensure domestic tranquility. that means keeping people safe here, not from enemies abroad, but from criminal elements within our own society. again, the most fundamental and sacred obligation of we as a government. if we don't do this, we are committing constitutional malpractice, we are not abiding by the most sacred obligation in our constitution to keep our people safe, and it can be done consistent with the second amendment, respectful of the second amendment, but in a way that will fundamentally realize the promise that the constitution makes to all americans that their government will protect them from foreign attack and from domestic unrest.
so i ask the senator do you view this as in large measure a national security issue? mr. murphy: i thank the senator from maine, especially because as he mentioned in his previous comments, he sits on the intelligence committee and so he is frankly privy to information that he likely cannot state on the floor but is directly on point, which is this notion that these terrorist groups, whether it be al qaeda and isis, now are more dependent than ever on inspiring and launching lone wolf attacks. why? because they are losing ground in syria and in iraq, and this notion that there was going to be an inevitable caliphate that was going to grow and prosper and control large amounts of territory in the middle east, that is no longer a reality. and when someone earlier today said on the floor there is a record low trickle of american citizens today going abroad, maybe it was you, to join
al qaeda suggests how their poll, how their gravitational pull has been greatly reduced, and it means that there are right ways and wrong ways to engage in this second front, this effort to try to launch lone wolf attacks. the wrong way is to marginalize muslim communities in this country by telling them that they are less than, by telling them that they are threats by nature of their ethnicity or their religion to the united states. i would yield for a question. mr. king: question. on february 15, 2015, tobique, which is the sort of public newspaper of isis, published an explicit strategy for what they hope will become a worldwide conflict, and the strategy is
that westerners will fall into the trap of persecuting muslims and drive them into the arms of the radicals. that's the strategy. so to the extent that we persecute and marginalize these overwhelmingly peaceful citizens who want to be citizens of our country or citizens of other countries in the world, we are doing their job. they said that's what we want to do, and indeed some people in our society have fallen into that trap and are doing it, and this is exactly what they want because they want this to be a war between islam and the west. and do we really want to radicalize 1.6 billion people and 3.3 million here in this country, the vast majority of whom want nothing more than what the rest of us want, which is to raise our families and live our lives and enjoy the benefits of this wonderful country.
so i -- i agree with the senator and would ask him if he concurs that what we're -- if we're marginalizing people of anything, then in this particular case we are driving them into the arms of our adversaries. mr. murphy: the name tobique itself, which is the name of the publication that this organization, that isis sends to the rest of the world, is rooted in a spot that is representative to this terrorist group of the historic clash between east and west, and so the entire orthodoxy of isis is based in this idea that they can convince would-be converts that this is a fight between the muslim faith and the christian faith, which just again speaks to the fact that there are right ways and wrong ways to go about fulfilling the mission that you have articulated in the preamble to the constitution. the wrong way is to blame these
attacks on everyone who shares the muslim faith. the right way is to target the very small subset of individuals of any faith that have connections to terrorist groups. and the good news is that because of a network of surveillance that we have endorsed, we can do much better than before in finding what individuals have had contact with terrorist groups. and when we find that out, it simply makes sense that we shouldn't sell them weapons. i -- mr. king: i thank the gentleman for his answers and for his leadership on this issue. mr. murphy: i would just say in yielding to senator durbin for a question, just personally it has meant so much to me to have senator durbin on the floor for almost the entirety of the now-13-plus hours, as frankly a hero to those of us who showed up relatively late to this fight
for justice on the issue of combating gun violence. i'm just so thankful to senator durbin for being here consistently with us, and i yield the floor to him for a question. mr. durbin: i'd like to propose a question to the senator from connecticut, but before i do, first i would like to thank the senator who is presiding this early morning hour. thank you and your fellow senators who have made this possible, and special thanks to the staff. they have been thanked before and they should be thanked again for their diligence and patience during this conversation and debate on the floor of the senate. a special, special thanks to the pages who have stayed late, late tonight and will have stories to tell about that night in the senate that went into the morning, and we were there. so you will be able to tell those stories when you get back home to your families and friends, but it is an historic debate. it's an important debate, and
it's one that will affect your lives and the lives of many people that you treasure on this earth. and we come to this floor at this early morning hour, quarter to 1:00 here in washington, d.c., as the senator from connecticut noted, more than 13 hours after he first took the floor, to discuss a critically important issue about the safety and security of america. when i think about what we're facing here, and it's been said by the senator from maine, we are dealing with a new strategy by terrorists. i can remember the day on 9/11, 2001, in a room just a few feet away when a little after 9:00 in the morning, we quickly turned on the television to see that planes were crashing into the world trade center in new york. by the time the second plane went in, we knew it wasn't an accident. and then there was a crash at the pentagon.
black smoke billowing over the mall and we were quickly advised to evacuate the capitol of the united states, and we did. we raced to the exits and went outside, stood on the lawn and didn't know which way to turn feeling that the next plane was heading for the capitol dome. and that was the threat that we faced and the reality of that threat right here in this building. that some terrorist unimaginable, some terrorist would use an airplane to attack us. that was the weapon. well, it was a bitter lesson. 3,000 innocent americans died. we changed america. osama bin laden changed america, the way we went to the airport, when we arrived, how we arrived, what we carried, what we wore became part of our defense of america. and for 15 years it has become a routine. our children and grandchildren have grown up with it. they couldn't imagine a day when you didn't go through security
at an airport. but before 9/11, it virtually never happened. or if it did, it wasn't very reliable. what we're talking about is a new strategy, a new tactic by terrorists, and that's why this debate is about more than just this horrible tragedy at orlando. it's about a pattern that is emerging of those who are radicalized and marginalized, who turn to guns that they can buy legally in the united states to threaten us. how serious are these guns? i made a mistake in an earlier meeting of calling it an automatic weapon. the weapon that was found to have been taken in by this man in orlando is a semiautomatic weapon. the difference of course is an automatic weapon, you hold the trigger and it bursts all of the cartridges in your magazine, as many as you have. a semiautomatic, you literally have to pull the trigger each
time. but let me give you an idea what that meant. in the early morning hours at pulse nightclub in orlando a brief video was uploaded to snapchat by one of the victims, amanda a veer. it was the last video she ever shot because she died. what the early moments of the massacre sounded like came through on this snapchat video. a frantic drumbeat of shots. 17 or more shots in nine seconds. one shot, a trigger pull in a continual barrage. today the f.b.i. told us there were hundreds, hundreds of shots fired. so when we talk about a potential terrorist with a gun, it is a terrorist with the capacity to kill hundreds of people. that is the new tactic, and that's why this conversation is not just about second amendment
in theory. it's about keeping america safe in fact from the new wave of terrorism. when the senator from connecticut took the floor, it was for two reasons. we've said them and we'll say them again. to make sure that if someone is suspected to be a terrorist, they cannot legally purchase a weapon in america. and particular lib not this kind of weapon -- and particularly not this kind of weapon that can create such carnage and kill so many innocent people. and secondly, that this terrorist, once realizing he's stopped by the legal process, can't go to the extraordinary process of going to a gun show. i've been, at least i've been by these gun shows in the armories and gymnasiums across illinois, and they all compiling in to show their weapons and sell their weapons. and people buy them in bulk and rarely, in some states, in indiana, for example, no background check. you want to buy more than one
glock poise -- pistol? how much money do you have? do you want to fill up the trunk of your car and take them to the city of chicago, be my guest. at the northern indiana gun shows. of course now the internet is another source. so are we so certain of the security of america that we're not going to protect our families and our friends and the people we love from the next attack, from the next would-be terrorist? i don't know if this man in orlando was truly associated with the terrorist organization. investigation is underway. some of the things he said were nonsensical when it came to identifying himself to these terrorist groups. but i don't want to dismiss that possibility. let the f.b.i. investigate that in its full range to find out whether or not he was associated. then who is the next one? and will the next one have access to some weapon that can kill so many innocent people at once? that is what this conversation is all about.
it isn't about some age-old debate on the floor of the senate. it's about the new world we live in. the senator from maine made it clear. the senator from connecticut read directly from terrorists who were instructing those who would kill americans, how to get it done most efficiently. that's what we're trying to stop. that is what this is all about. it will be great if at the end of this we not only get these amendments called but maybe even a bipartisan agreement on stopping terrorists from buying guns in america to threaten innocent people in orlando, in connecticut, in illinois, in maine, in new jersey. so i close by first thanking you, senator murphy and senator booker, who has been your stalwart supporter and friend throughout this debate. i believe he has tried to stand by you literally throughout. senator booker, thank you for
yesterday bringing to our attention at our caucus lunch the fact that this is about more than mass murder. it is about the murders of america which go on every day, every hour in the cities that we love, and innocent people die because of it. it's all part of the same conversation and the same debate. thank you for really bringing that message home. it touched mean because of what we are enduring in my state of illinois and the city of chicago. and, senator murphy, it's been a long day, and here we are in a new day. and i hope it is a new day for our country, a new day when we start looking seriously at putting an end to this gun violence and this carnage and doing a smart, sensible, commonsensal thing to make sure those who would be terrorists don't have access to the most lethal weapons available in gun shows and gun stores across america.
as i close to you is a simple question, at the end of this battle, there are more to be fought not just on this issue but the issue of military weapons being sold to common populations. but let's save that for another day. i just ask you in closing what your feeling is as you've watched your colleagues give up their time during the course of yesterday and the early hours of this morning in terms of the intensity of feeling, the stories that you've heard that i hope have inspired you as they have me. mr. murphy: i thank the senator from illinois. i thank the senator from illinois. i thank him for -- i thank him for setting an example of how to speak truth to power in this body. we've talked over the course of this afternoon about the influence of special interests and how they have affected this debate. and there is simply no one in
the united states senate who over a period of time has ignored special interests and money and power and just done and said and fought for the right thing over and over again. and to the extent that people like senator booker and i made the choice to run for this body, even amidst its reputation for dysfunction, it is because that we hoped that when we got here we could maybe, we could maybe equal some portion of the example that you've set. so personally, i think i can speak on behalf of myself and senator booker and senator blumenthal, certainly for me it's meant so much that you have been here for the totality of this debate. thank you, senator durbin. it's meant just as much to me to have all of our colleagues here today. it's meant the world to me to have senator blumenthal, my partner engage in this together and to have senator booker, as
you mentioned, in an active, wonderful sympathy, make the decision to stand on his feet for the duration of this time as well. and this has been organic. we sent out the word that we thought this was something important, but this really happened of its own volition and everything that's happened outside this chamber today and tonight with the hundreds of thousands of interactions, the 10,000 phone calls that have just come into our office alone, it speaks to the wellspring of desire that there is in this country to act, to act on the issue of the epidemic of gun violence. of course what we have proffered here are two simple measures that we think we are on our way to perhaps getting votes on. but we don't want votes. we ultimately want agreement. and hopefully the momentum that
comes from today and tonight and the 13 hours that we've been on the floor will get us there. i will yield the floor for a question at this point without losing my right to the floor to senator booker. mr. booker: senator murphy, i want to thank you very much for what i think has been one of the more remarkable exhibitions of grit and toughness. you have not only been on your feet, not only have not left the floor to use the facilities, but you have stood in the saddle and have been for this entire time, as your colleagues have flowed through this chamber, you have been answering question after question after question after question on a topic that you are passionate about, on a topic that you feel deeply and personally. and i just want to thank you for your leadership because it's captured the attention of our nation. this filibuster right here -- i know a little bit about social
media. this filibuster right here has been the focus, trending on twitter, the focus of facebook. it has created a media attention on a problem because in a sense you're giving hope. your very intention of coming here has met the need, the urgent need that the public has seen that this body here, this auspicious body, this greatest deliberative body on the planet earth, that this senate, designed by the constitution to deal with the biggest problems of our land, that this body would not just go on as business as usual. what you chose to do is to say enough. stop. we are going to have a discussion about an issue that is not just on the minds of the american public, but it is
grievously affecting the hearts and the spirit of our nation. tens of thousands of people since sunday have been standing around our country in vigils, in solidarity, expressing their pain and expressing their sorrow but expressing the feelings that they have that we should be better than to allow such grievous, terroristic hateful acts to happen on our soil. and so while the american public has been stepping up, this body thaod had a different plan, to move on a piece of legislation, to barely acknowledge this. and so before i want to really refrain this, senator, i just want to say thank you to you for the courage that you have put
forth to say enough is enough. no business as usual. that we are going to stop. and that we are going to push for two commonsense, sensible -- commonsense amendments that cannot end gun violence in america, cannot stop terrorist activity here and abroad but that can take a step, a constructive step towards beginning to choke the flow of commonality of these incidents on american soil, and has been said time and time again, as has been said by a number of senators today, what reason was our government organized in the first place? you heard angus king wearing the constitution on his tie, talk to
that preamble. common defense, domestic tranquillity. and so i want to frame this again, but the first frame i just have to say you and i talked about it after caucus lunch yesterday. you and i talked about it during the day. we talked about it last night. and you are not talking about it today. you are doing it. no business as usual, and for that i'm grateful. and it is merited that we also thank the many people who are involved. when the senate is open past midnight, hundreds of people have to be here as well, not just the people you see here on the floor. the pages who are in their first days, and that is their -- one of their seminal experiences. not the folks who are working behind the dais there, not the great republican colleagues who have had to man that chair, but security guards and subway operators and the people who are
seating folks in the gallery. and so i just want to say tonight thank you. i want to point out the fact that chris has helped to pay for food for not only a lot of the folks here but including the republican cloakroom. i appreciate you, senator murphy. but now i want to get to the framing of what this is about because there has been a lot talked about tonight, most of which i agree with. a lot discussed, a lot far afield, but you came here with a purpose around two issues that are of common sense. one is that in the united states of america, if our investigatory authorities see people as threats, are investigating people because they are believed to be desirous of doing acts of terrorism on american soil, people who have already been
banned from -- in some cases from flying on airplanes, that we should take a step, we should make it the law of this land that that person who was a suspected terrorist, that person who can't get on an airplane, hey, that person also should not be able to buy an assault rifle. that is so common sense that as you said earlier today perhaps four or five hours ago, many people in america are shocked when they realize that that loophole, that terrorist loophole actually exists. what you're fighting for, senator murphy, is not radical. it's not out of the box. it's common sense. and what's even more important is in this day and age when partisanship does, does cripple this body from time to time on big issues, that this issue is actually not partisan. study after study have shown,
survey after survey, poll after poll says overwhelmingly americans agree with this. in fact, overwhelmingly american gun owners, over 80% say we need to close the terrorist loophole. in fact, n.r.a. members, over 70%, say we should close a terrorist loophole. what nation when they are at war where your enemy is actually trying to incite terrorism in your country, when your enemy is explicitly saying exploit this loophole, what country would keep that loophole wide open where it is easy for someone with terroristic aims to hurt, injure, destroy and kill? but you took it one step further, and i was happy this morning to work on an amendment with you that says you capital just close a terrorist loophole
and leave open, as you called it hours ago, a back door for those terrorists to use. that means if you do background checks, they need to be universal, because if it's just the brick-and-mortar gun retailers, yeah, you go there, you're going to have to do a background check. by the way, those background checks stop people every single year, not just people that may be suspected of terrorism. frankly they stop criminals. but we now know that we as a nation have changed where the buyers of weapons have migrated from the brick-and-mortar stores now to another market, often online or at gun shows, and unless we close those avenues for terrorists to use, they are going to use them so very much common sense again, the second thing that you are saying today is hey we need to close a terrorist loophole and we need to make sure we're doing universal background checks.
now, those -- that's the reason we're here. the grit of a senator and the common sense of two amendments that are very critical. but i want to for a moment tell you what was perhaps the most touching time for me in this 13, 14 hours. and i went and actually checked the rules and you can't acknowledge people that are in the gallery, but i have to say tonight -- they are not here now, so i'm not acknowledging anybody that's here, but your wife and child showed up. and when i heard you talk as a parent about the love of your child and how you did something that's so important for us as americans. in fact, i think it's at the core of who we are, that this is what our country calls us to do, which is to take courageous steps of empathy and say when other people's children are
dying, that that's not their problem, that it triggers empathy in me. i think about my own child, i think about my niece, i think about my nephew, i think about my family. you see, there is a privilege in this country that is a dangerous type of privilege. it is the type of privilege that says if something is not happening to me personally, if a problem is not happening to me personally, then it's not a problem. it's not a problem if it's not happening to me personally. when that's contrary to what we say about ourselves as a country. the spirit of this country has been that we're all in this together, that we all do better when we all do better. that if there is injustice in our midst, affecting another family, another state, another neighborhood, then that's an injustice that is threatening the whole.
senator murphy, this is one of your core values. it is expressed by great americans. it was expressed by martin luther king in perhaps one of the greatest pieces of american literature, the letter from the birmingham jail. this idea that if something is going on wrong in connecticut, the tragedy happens there, children are murdered there, that that's not connecticut's problem. that's all of our problems. king said in justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, that we are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a common garment of destiny. and so that's to me a core element of our nation. it's what our founders understood when they said that we're in this together, the very declaration of independence ends
with a nod toward that interdependence, toward that interwoven nature. it was set by our founders on the declaration of independence right at the end, that in order for this nation to work, we must be there for each other, we must care about each other, we must invest ourselves in each other. that if an injustice happens to our brother or my sister, it's affecting me. that declaration of independence ends with those words. we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor. and so now we see these tragedies, and i don't want to believe that we're becoming numb to them, that we see them as some distant reality and not as a personal attack because when you attack one american, you attack us all. and when you have an avenue
where you can make a difference to preserve and protect life and you do not claim it, to me that is a sin. there is a great writer, a great thinker, great nobel laureate who once said to the effect, he said the opposite of -- of -- of love is not hate, it's indifference the opposite of love is not just hate, it's action. lack of caring, lack of compassion. and so what gets me upset about this issue is that we have commonsense tools that have been enumerated by wise colleagues of mine who have legal scholars in our caucus who understand
clearly there is no absolute right when it comes to freedom of speech. that even as has been quoted many times, the majority opinion in the heller case, there is no absolute right to bear arms. it has been said by multiple senators, just closing the terrorist loophole doesn't infringe the rights of any american to bear arms, of any american sportsman, any american seeking self-defense. that this is just saying that, hey, if you're someone who is believed to be a terrorist, you should not be able to purchase a gun. you're someone on that no-fly list, you should not be able to purchase a gun. and by the way, even that, as you pointed out, there should be due process so that if you have to grieve that, there is a process for which you to grieve you being on that no-fly list. and so for me, when i see your
child come here to listen to her father, when i see parents, many of my colleagues have children, i hope that all of us, all of us when we hear about a mass shooting don't just say i'm praying for those families, begin to think that that happening to my fellow american is a threat to me, it's happening to us all, we all are lesser as a result of it, but we have to think to ourselves how would it feel if i fail to act to do what was right, to close a terrorist loophole. what if that person right now that our enemy is working to radicalize, what if that person in our country right now that our enemy is working to inspire,
what about that pesh right now who is seeking to do harm to americans, what happens if they exploit that loophole tomorrow, next month, next year. what happens if they exploit that loophole and this time they go to a playground, a train station, a movie theater, a church, and it happens to be your playground, your movie theater, your school, your church, your child. if you know there is something we can do to stop our enemy from getting arms and doing us harm and we have seen now from san bernadino to orlando, florida, that terrorists are looking to do us harm, and we can stop our enemy with a commonsense amendment that is believed and supported by the majority of americans, the majority of republicans, the majority of gun
owners, the majority of n.r.a. members, and yesterday this body can't do that, we are setting ourselves up for future acts of violence and terror that could have been prevented. what if it's our child or our family or our community or our neighborhood? and there is one more step i have to mention, senator murphy. there is one more step that it's important to this, because if you close the terrorist loophole and make sure that those terrorists cannot exploit the back door, if you make sure those background checks are universal, again agreed to by the majority of americans, the majority of republicans, the majority of gun owners, the majority of n.r.a. members, you're also going to benefit by
creating a background check system that stops criminals from getting guns that better undermine their ability to get their hands on weapons that they want to do to carry out violence in our neighborhoods, communities, in our cities, and that's where it gets deeply personal to me. because like you have for your child, every american has for their kids, we have big dreams. this is a nation of dreams. we have something called the american dream, which i say is known across the globe. it is a bold dream, it is a humble dream that this is a nation where our children can grow up, have the best of opportunity. our children can do better than us. it is the american dream. but the challenge i see with american reality where we have
such liberal access to weapons by people who are criminals, what that has resulted in, i have seen it myself, is so many children taken, killed, murdered time and time again, every day, every hour, time and time again, another dream destroyed, another dream devastated, another dream murdered. and that is something that's thought just words to me. i have seen it across my state, in our cities, on street corners where we have set up shrines with candles and teddy bears marking the place after place, street after street where children have been murdered. i have stood on too many street corners looking down at bodies,
13-year-olds, 14-year-olds, 15-year-olds, 16-yards murdered -- 16-year-olds murdered in our nation with irregularity that was not seen in wars past. i've been to funerals with parents begging us to do something about the violence in our country. i've seen children that are living but yet live with trauma and stress because they hear gunshots too much in their neighborhoods. we have the power to stop this and we can't assume that these problems are not ours. langston hughes said it so poetically, there is a dream in this land with its back against
the wall to save the dream for one, we must save the dream for all. how many of our children's dreams must be destroyed by gun violence before we do the commonsense things that we agree on to begin to shrink those numbers? it's written in genesis when joseph's brother see him approaching with murder in their eyes and said here cometh the dreamer. let us slay him and see what becomes of his dreams. we have lost so many. so many have been slain but the dream of america can die. there are people who want to take it from us. they want to inject it with fear
and hate. the dream of our country cannot die. there are rules and loopholes that allow mad men and terrorists and criminals to get their hands on assault weapons. we cannot let the dream of our country die and be dashed and be killed. we can do something about it, and it is unacceptable when you have the power to do nothing. and so we elected to this body, caretakers of that dream, the torch of the light of the hope of the promise of this country that still attracts so many, where hundreds of millions in our nation believe, where so many outside of our nation believe, we must make sure that we form a more perfect union, where we see unfinished business of work to be done,
where we answer the call of our citizenry. so i return to where i began. senator murphy, there are literally thousands of americans taking to the streets this past week. i saw them in new jersey, read about them in california and florida. i see them in washington, d.c. here in our nation's capital. today i'm proud that you decided that that dream was worth fighting for, that the call of our nation had to be answered, that that dream demanded something more than business as usual. 13 plus hours you've stood. i don't know how long it will take, but i know this is an issue closing the terrorist
loophole, closing the avenues for terrorists to go online or gun shows, just doing would is such common sense to keep us safe. i know we will win this battle. it's not a matter of if. it's a matter of when. and so as the hour grows later and later and this filibuster drags on, i just want to ask this perhaps important question. you and i both know from the incoming you've had, thousands of calls in your office, that one of the problems we have to have as we allow our inability to do everything that undermine our determination to do something, that when you have a majority of people that believe in something, that often the
only thing that stops us from cheffing it is not that we can't. it's not a matter of can we. it's do we have the collective will. i know from scanning social media that there are thousands of people watching right now. as you speak to our colleagues and speak through the chair, perhaps my question is, can you speak to those people who tonight many of them who were cynical about this body found a little bit of hope in your action. can you maybe take a moment to speak to them about how we can keep fighting this fight, what they can do to press forward, how we can make this dream of our nation stronger, mightier, more just so that a week it now or a month from now we're not gathered together in mourning in
our nation about dreams dashed by violent terrorists. mr. murphy: i thank the gentleman. i thank my friend for the question and i thank him for standing quite literally with me every second of these last 1 13-plus hours and i thank my friend from connecticut who is about to speak as well for doing the same. it's nice to have friends. it's nice to have friends that are committed to the same thing you are but it'sust nice to have friends. it doesn't have to be like this. it doesn't have to be like this. i know there are so many things in this country that we accept as inevitable and true and unchangeable and we are right on
the precipice of getting to the point in this country where we accept this level of gun violence, of gun homicide as just a normal facet of life in this country. i know it when i listen to kids in the north end of hartford tell me that the sound of ambulances and police sirens is their good night lullaby at night. it's just what they're used to falling asleep to, the response to the next shooting. and i knew it at the beginning of this week when as the news was filled with not yet another mass shooting but the worst mass shooting in the history of this country. i knew it when this body sing naturalled that it wasn't -- signaled that it wasn't going to take up any measures to combat this epidemic of gun violence in the wake of the worst mass
shooting in the country's history. it is felt recently like we are right on the precipice of accepting this as the new normal in this country. and we're asking for a vote and i think as i'll speak to in a moment that we've gotten to a place in which we are going to get votes on these important amendments, but all we're doing here is talking and so you are right, senator booker, that all this can be this evening and this afternoon is a platform for sustained collective action that demands that this not just be a one time phenomenon, that this passion that you heard from dozens of members of the senate who came down here organically just because they cared sustains
throughout the day, throughout the week, throughout the month and throughout the years. as i said earlier on this floor, great change movements are defined by their obstacles and their failures, and we've already had a bunch of failures when it comes to our fight for gun violence measures. we lost a big vote on the floor of the united states senate in 2013. there are state legislatures that have gone the other direction and made it easier to get weapons. we lost a vote here in december trying to expand out our background check system to make sure that people who are on the terrorist watch list are captured by it. we've had our share of defeats and losses, and though we may be able as it turns out to get votes on these amendments, maybe we'll lose those, too. but every great change movement in this country is defined by persistence in the face of
obstacles and failures. and this change movement isn't defined by what we do here. it's defined by the 90% of americans who believe in the righteousness of what we're proposing here. we, frankly, aren't in the business of changing the minds of millions of americans. we're in the business of changing the minds of a few dozen members of congress. it doesn't sound that bad when you put it that way, right? we don't have to convince the broad electorate that something has to change. we just have to convince a few people here. and that can happen. it can. but it won't happen through senator booker and myself and senator bloomenthal coming down here and -- blumenthal coming down here and doing this week after week. it will happen because members of the public will decide to take those 10,000 phone calls that fit into the phone lines
coming into the office today, that those phone calls go into every other office in the senate and the house over the course of the coming days as we perhaps lead up to meaningful votes in the coming weeks and months. and that when voters go to the voting booth, that this is an issue that they prioritize, that they pay attention to whether or not their member of congress is voting with them or against them when it comes to common sense issues like expanding background checks to cover gun shows, internet sales, like making sure the terrorists don't get guns. and it's a commitment to never lose that sense of empathy which has got to be at the root of this. luis veielma was 22 years old when he was shot and killed late saturday night in orlando in the largest mass shooting in american history. he had been so excited that night because he was hosting a
friend of his who was visiting from miami and he wanted to show him this wonderful nightclub that he had found, this place where the community could come together and celebrate themselves. his father, jose, suggested that the two of them come over to his house for some homemade mexican food. but luis was so excited to have a great time that night with his visiting friend that he put off his dad and he said i'm going down to the club. i'm heading downtown. and on his way he texted to his dad, i love you. those were the last words that jose ever heard from his son. his family said that he went to the club that night to dance. oh, and he can dance and get
down, a family friend said. yes, he can. he was born in florida but he loved the mexican national football team. he adored his family and i liked to play tricks on his younger brother. he was a huge harry potter fan. guess what? he had a job at universal studios. he worked on the harry potter ride. that was a big deal to luis. upon hearing of his death, j. c. rowling tweeted out a tribute to him. his job at universal was a passion for him because he loved harry potter but it was also paying for his education. he was studying to be a physical therapy assistant at seminole state college. his friend will randall said luis was by far the best person i knew. he inher recently -- he inherently made us all better people by simply existing around us. part of him will always live on
in every good decision that i make. how could this happen to someone so kind, kelly genner, a friend mourned on facebook. how could this happen to anyone? in december of 2015, jonathan aronda was shot and killed in the morning hours of december 8 in new haven, connecticut. he was 19 years old. he had just graduated from ally whitney technical high school in hamden, connecticut. in a statement, the superintendent of the schools talked about the devastation in the entire educational community for the loss of this beautiful young man. his cousin said he was hardworking, he was well liked. he worked at brook and will, a packaging company in guilford. he was getting out of work.
he stopped at a friend's house to talk about cars and then, bam, this senseless act of violence happened. his friend said he was quick to lend a happened when you needed help. he wouldn't ask for anything in return. he worked the third shift, and he came home and then he helped his friends and his family. his sister, his younger sister said he was a humble and loving person and he never picked fights. a very likable, likable kid said his cousin, edward garcia. he didn't have a problem with anybody. luis vielma was 22 years old when he was killed saturday night in the worst mass shooting in the history of this country, and that shooting has gotten a lot of publicity and it's prompted us to come down to this floor and demand change. but nobody in this country knows about jonathan aronda. he was killed in december of last year on the streets of new haven, and his family and friends and his educational community mourn for him, but ep didn't make head -- he didn't
make headlines. and the 80 others that day on december 8 who died didn't make headlines either, but their deaths are just as meaningful, just as impactful and just as unacceptable as the 50 people who died late on saturday night, early sunday morning in orlando. it doesn't have to be like this. and that's why we have come to the floor this evening. i'm going to turn the floor over to senator blumenthal in a moment. actually i'm going to turn the floor over to senator booker first for comments and then to senator blumenthal. but let me just finish these remarks by talking about the families in sandy hook. senator booker was talking about courageous acts of empathy. i think it's a wonderful phrase. and think about the courageous
acts of empathy inherent in the decision made by the families of those murdered in sandy hook to come to the united states congress and argue in 2013 and then again in 2014 and 2015 and 2016 for background checks. because if you know the facts of the case in sandy hook, background checks on sales at gun shows or with respect to online sales wouldn't have mattered in that case because that sale was done with a background check. to the families of sandy hook, what would matter much more is a ban on military-style assault weapons like the kind that was used to kill every single kid that was shot in sandy hook. or a ban on high-capacity magazines. let me tell you this. there are kids that survived that shooting, survived that shooting because the shooter fumbled when he went to reload and a handful of kids snuck out.
because he was using 30-round magazines, he only had to reload a handful of times. had he been forced to reload after discharging it 10 bullets rather than 30 bullets, there are a lot of families in newtown who think there would be more kids alive to them. but they came to washington in a courageous act of empathy to argue on behalf of jonathan aronda who was still alive in the spring of 2013 when we took that vote. they came to this congress to argue on behalf of those still living on the streets of this country who could benefit by an expanded background check system if it stemmed the below of illegal weapons on to their streets. had we been successful, had we been able to pick up a few more votes to persist and beat that filibuster, maybe jonathan aronda would be alive today.
and had we years ago passed a law that puts people that have had an intersection with the f.b.i. with respect to terrorist connections on the list of those that are prohibited from buying guns, maybe that network would have caught up omar mateen and he would have never bought the weapon that he used to kill those in orlando. those are all maybes. but life isn't always a game of certainties. and what we have been asking here today is to just take a step forward and take a vote on two commonsense measures that can just start to show that we have the ability to make progress as a body. there is a laundry list of other things that everyone who has spoken wants to happen. our families in sandy hook have a laundry list of other things that they want to occur. but we want to start with these
two commonsense measures. and through the chair to senator booker and senator blumenthal, i think we can report some very meaningful progress over the course of these 13 hours. when we began this debate on the floor, when we declared that we were not going to move forward on the c.j.s. bill without a commitment to talk about what happened in orlando, to talk about how we fix it, when we began there was no commitment, no plan to debate these measures. and it is our understanding that the republican leader and the democratic leader have spoken and that we have been given a commitment on a path forward to get votes on the floor of the senate on a measure to assure
that those on the terrorist watch list do not get guns, the feinstein amendment. and an amendment introduced by myself and senator booker and myself and senator schumer to expand background checks to gun shows and to internet sales. now we still have to get from here to there, but we did not have that commitment when we started today. and we have that understanding at the end of the day. no guarantee that those amendments pass, but we'll have some time to take the movement that existed before we started and maybe is a little bit stronger now and try to prevail upon members to take these two measures and turn them into law. so i'm deeply grateful to be standing here at now 1:40 in the
evening with both of my friends who started here with me now going on 14 hours ago. and i gladly yield to my friend, senator booker, for a question and any final comments that he has. mr. booker: this is my final question. i ask the senator one more time would you yield for a question? mr. murphy: i yield for a question without relinquishing control of the floor. mr. booker: thank you for that clarification. i want to again say thank you to you. we started this it about 13 1/2 or almost 14 hours ago with business as usual. we started almost 14 hours ago with no focus on these issues in this body. we started this 14 hours ago with something as obvious as closing the terrorist loophole, not on the agenda of the united states senate.
this filibuster, you're standing tall. your multiple colleagues standing with you, over two dozen representing states from east to west. this measure, this standing here together, it now seems that we at least will have a vote on those two things, the closing of the terrorist loophole and the expanding the terrorist block so that we have background checks that can block terrorists who will seek to get weapons through secondary avenues. so that is a good step, but it seems clear to me it's not everything i would have hoped for out of this day and it seems to clear to me that we have some work to do in changing the hearts and minds of some of our colleagues so these measures that have failed in the past can pass now. for those of you who don't know the history of this body, a lot
of most prideful legislation of america -- let's take the civil rights act, for example -- failed many, many, many times. but those who kept fighting and didn't give up or didn't give in to cynicism were able to bring that measure to the fore. this has happened with many pieces of legislation from the abolishing of slavery to a woman's right to vote. and so sweet honey in the rock, who is a group that i love, they sing a song called "ella's song" where they say we who believe in freedom cannot rest. we who believe in freedom cannot rest until it's won. and so my hope is that this filibuster now going into its 14th hour didn't just win a vote on these two amendments, didn't just stop business as usual, didn't just get a chance
to have a final determination, at least on these two amendments, but that it helped to do something else, senator murphy. my hope is that it helped to push back on cynicism, which i think cynicism is a rev tpaoupb tpaoupb -- is a refuge for cowards, that cynical people throw up their hands and say nothing can change. thank god people who were fighting for the freedoms of this country did not give into cynicism and quit fighting. thank god those who had reason to be cynical about government didn't fall into that trap of cynicism, didn't take that refuge for cowards and kept fighting in this body for so much of the legislation we now take for granted from workers' rights to the rights of immigrants. and so my hope, senator murphy, if i can express it to you, is that not only will we fight to win the vote on these two
amendments, one by dianne feinstein on closing the terrorist loophole, and the other authored by you, me and senator schumer, to expand background checks; my hope is that this filibuster did not just get those a vote but will mobilize and engage more people to reach out to their senators. i really appreciate the fact that your office got 10,000 calls. i appreciate the fact that your effort has been trending on social media, but that's nothing calling you who already support this and not reaching out to senators who are deliberating over whether to support this or not. we are all here because folks not only didn't take that refuge for cowards for cynicism, that debilitating state for being agents for change but we're also
here not just for people who shun cynicism but people who embrace love. by love, i use that word spr-rbgs if you love your country men and women, you don't just tolerate them. i think that is kind of a cynical aspiration for this country that we'll be a nation of tolerance stomaching each other's right to be different. if we are a nation of love, love doesn't just stomach someone's right to be different. love sees the right of who we are, we each have value, we need each otherrened we're interwoven into each other's destiny and if there's justice facing you it affects me and i have to work to correct that. i'm here. senator blumenthal's here. senator murphy's here. all the people working here are here because of this conspiracy of love, of folks who didn't just take care of themselves and their families. they got engaged in their country, got engaged in their communities, the neighborhoods. they did for others, they served, they volunteered.
they sacrificed. so we're on another inflection point in american history with the worst mass murder in our country's history. you cannot control always what happens to you, but you can control your response to it. let our response to this hate-filled act be love. let our response from this terroristic act seeking to scare us be courage. let us in the days ahead act with love and courage as demonstrated by our engagement with our political system pressing, pushing, letting our representatives be heard from in this body, that we want them to support commonsense closing of the terrorist loophole and expanding that with background checks that shut off the back door for terrorists to exploit to get assault weapons, to do repeats of what we saw.
with that kind of courage, with that kind of love, our enemies do not win. we do. with that kind of courage, that kind of love, we don't stumble, we don't stop, we don't hesitate, equivocate or retreat. we advance this country towards its highest ideals that we will be a nation with liberty and justice for all, we're all families from inner city communities, to suburban, from rural to urban, all communities enjoy safety, security, strength and prosperity. and so with that, i ask that question. senator murphy, do you agree that this is not just aachieved the first step stopping business as usual, letting this body go on, but actually getting two measures that were not on this agenda until this action began,
do you believe that that's not enough, with thousands of people watching, people on social media now. we need to get more engagement to begin, as you said earlier, not to change the hearts and minds of all of america. frankly, most of america is with us, but to start focusing on those senators that will be deliberating over the coming hours, maybe days about these specific pieces of legislation. mr. murphy: i thank the senator. this is an important start but it is not sufficient. what is unacceptable is to do nothing. what would have been unacceptable is to spend this entire week on legislative business that was irrelevant to the epidemic of gun violence that has been made more real than ever by the tragedy in orlando, and so i thank the senator for helping us convene our colleagues over the course of 14-some-odd hours.
i think we can report having made progress, but certainly not enough. i would yield for a question to my friend, senator blumenthal, who has been here on the floor with us for the entirety of this time, who has been standing with me -- frankly, i have been standing with him as my senior senator in this fight since december of 2012. i would yield to him for a question without relinquishing control of the floor. mr. blumenthal: thank you, senator murphy. i join in thanking all the staff who have worked over this day and into the night and now into the next day at great personal sacrifice and at great benefit to the united states senate, and i want to thank my colleague, senator booker, for his he will acquiescence, his perseverance and dedication to this cause and
of course senator murphy for his courage and strength in this cause that brings us here today, tonight, tomorrow and in the days ahead because this experience is, as he has said, only the next step, and this legislation is only the next step. we have talked a lot in great and some of it very powerful and compelling terms about what's at stake here. certainly the reason that we're here has to do with the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the united states. but the numbers are important. numbers are cold, hard and
stark. 49 people were killed in that single attack in orlando, but in an ordinary day in america, dozens of people are shot without any notice. it's not a headline. barely a mention. certainly no speeches on the floor of the united states senate. the fact is that gun homicides are a common cause of death in our nation, the greatest, strongest nation in the history of the world, killing about as many people as car crashes, and in direct contrast the experience of other countries where, for example, in poland and england, only about one out
of every million people guy in the gun homicide, which is about as often as an american dies in an agricultural accident or falling from a ladder. these numbers from an article i "the new york times" of just a few days ago, june 13, which i asked to be entered in the record, if there is no objection, mr. president? mr. murphy: withdrawing that request. mr. blumenthal: which i will offer at another time. thank you. the point is here that we can do something about those numbers. we can reduce them. we can save lives if we adopt commonsense, sensible measures such as are going to be debated specifically and given a vote in the united states senate. as a result of our saying our
colleagues and the three of us saying no more business as usual. enough is enough. let's listen to the american people. there is a consensus. the poll numbers show 90% of the american people think we should have background checks, the majority of gun owners. and the majority of people also think that someone suspected of terrorist activity based on evidence should be barred from buying a gun. that's a national consensus as well, and it makes good common sense. if we are at war with isis -- and we are -- we should stop isis-inspired or supported terrorists in this country from buying guns. if we think isis is trying to
create extremist violence here that leads to the kind of attack that we saw in orlando, we should stop those individuals who are motivated by the twisted, pernicious, insidious ideology of hate to be barred from buying a gun. these determinations are not made on speculation debates on evidence and facts under the measure that we have proposed, and they provide due process for someone to have his name removed if that determination is made in error that he's on a list or that he is barred from buying a gun. the details here are important, as they are in every law, because they are a guarantee to due process and individual rights, and the same is true of
background checks. somebody who is mistakenly on the next list should have that name removed. but these facts are important. evidence is critical. that's what is involved in these measures which are a start. laws work when they are in force. we know they work in connecticut because there was a 40% reduction in some crimes in the wake of the permit to purchase laws passed in 1994. that study was recently done by researchers at johns hopkins university and the university of california-berkeley, saying to those doubters or skeptics the permit to purchase laws passed in connecticut in 1994 actually
were a huge success for public safety. my colleague from connecticut has cited other evidence that shows laws work when they are enforced, and national laws are important because connecticut cannot itself create the kind of protections that our citizens deserve. borders are porous to trap people with guns. guns have no respect for safe boundaries, nor do the traffickers. so we need national laws to protect the citizens of every state. we are here because there is a national consensus in favor of those laws, and we know that we have an obligation and a historic opportunity to be change makers here in this body.
the american people want change on both sides of the political aisle. we know that voters want washington to change. they want the political system to change. they want our laws to change, and they want the system of public financing to change so that the public interests, not special interests, will prevail. other measures surely should be sought. the repeal of the unique immunity and shield from accountability that gun makers have. the inability of a protective order to protect against domestic abusers that have guns. the absence of laws to protect against straw purchasers and
illegal trafficking. there ought to be national laws again that provide those protections, and of course even for licensed firearms dealers, a person whose background check is not completed within 72 hours can still buy guns, even though if the background check had been completed, he would have been barred, and that is the reason that in charleston, south carolina, nine people were murdered by dylan roof who obtained that gun even though he was in fact legally barred from buying a gun because the background check was not completed within 72 hours. there are many more steps that need to be taken.
even with the passage of measures that we are advocating today, there is no single solution, and we are only at the beginning of the effort to pass these measures. but we have at least changed this debate. we have changed the context of this consideration. and the reason is that senator murphy has shown the leadership that he has done. we are grateful to him for it, and we will continue this fight together. and so my question generally to my colleague from connecticut is how should we close tonight? and aren't you glad there will be no more questions?
mr. murphy: thank you for the final question, senator blumenthal. let me reiterate my thanks to everyone who has persisted this evening for all of our colleagues who have come down to the floor to join in this exercise, again to all of the staff and the pages who indeed just showed up a week ago for standing with us and for their commitment to public service, to those who sat in the chair. having done that for an overnight session or two, i know it's not exactly how you planned to spend your wednesday evening. and most importantly to senator booker for standing with me, quite literally, since 11:20 this morning, and to senator blumenthal for being a perpetual friend and partner. i woke up this morning determined to make sure that this wasn't going to be a lost
week, and i have been furious since those days following sandy hook. i have been so angry that this congress has mustered absolutely no response to mass shooting after mass shooting, in city after city that is plagued by gun violence, such that the children who grow up in the eas end of bridgeport or the north end of hartford live through stress and trauma that affects their brains in irreparable ways, and i'm embarrassed that it took me so long to become a convert to this issue. i'm embarrassed, frankly, that it took the tragedy in sandy hook for me to wake up to the fact that people all around this country in newark, that cities
in my state have been living through this horror without attention from this body. there is no silver lining for what happened in newtown, but inarguably what has happened in the four years since has been the focus of attention from all over this country on the inaction of this body and the failure of it to respond, and that is what is so perplexing to me that we have disagreements over what should be done, but what i have not understood is why we don't even attempt to find common ground on this floor, why week after week there is not a single vote or debate scheduled on any of the measures that have been proposed to try to stop this karanage. there hasn't been a debate